How Blogging Paid Off My Student Loans

In July about 2 years ago, I finished paying off my student loans. It was a fantastic feeling and something I still think about to this day. Even though I have a success story when it comes to paying off student loans, I know that many others struggle with their student loan debt every single…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: March 17, 2024

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

How Blogging Helped With Paying Off Student LoansIn July about 2 years ago, I finished paying off my student loans.

It was a fantastic feeling and something I still think about to this day. Even though I have a success story when it comes to paying off student loans, I know that many others struggle with their student loan debt every single day.

The average graduate walks away with more than $35,000 in student loan debt, and not only is that number growing, the percentage of students expected to use students loans is on the rise. Plus, if you have a law or medical degree, your student loan debt may be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This is a ton of money and can be quite stressful.

After earning three college degrees, I had approximately $40,000 in student loan debt.

To some, that may sound like a crazy amount of money, and to others it may seem low. For me, it was too much.

At first, paying off student loans seemed like an impossible task, but it was an amount I didn’t want to live with for years or even decades. Due to that, I made a plan to pay them off as quickly as I could.

And, I succeeded.

I was able to pay off my student loans after just 7 months, and it was all due to my blog.

Yes, it was all because of my blog!

Without my blog, there is a chance I could still have student loans. My blog gave me a huge amount of motivation, allowed me to earn a side income in a fun way, and it allowed me to pay off my student loans very quickly.

I’m not saying you need to start a blog to help pay off your student loans, but you might want to look into starting a side hustle of some sort. Blogging is what worked for me, and it may work for you too.

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I believe that earning extra income can completely change your life for the better. You can stop living paycheck to paycheck, you can pay off your debt, reach your dreams, and more, all by earning extra money.

This blog changed my life in many other ways, besides just allowing me to pay off my student loans. It allowed me to quit a job I absolutely dreaded, start my own business, and now I earn over $50,000 a month through it.

If you are interested in starting a blog, I created a tutorial that will help you start a blog of your own for cheap, starting at only $2.95 per month (this low price is only through my link) for blog hosting. In addition to the low pricing, you will receive a free blog domain (a $15 value) through my Bluehost link when you purchase at least 12 months of blog hosting. FYI, you will want to be self-hosted if you want to learn how to make money with a blog.

Below is how blogging helped me pay off my student loans.

Quick background on my student loans.

I graduated with two undergraduate degrees, took a short break from college, found a job as an analyst, and 2 years later I received my Finance MBA. Even though I worked full-time through all three of my degrees, I still took out student loans and put hardly anything towards my growing student loan debt.

Instead, I spent my money on food, clothing, a house that cost more than I probably should have been spending, and more. I wasn’t the best with money when I was younger, which led to me racking up student loan debt.

After receiving my undergraduate and graduate degrees, the total amount of student loans I accumulated was around $40,000.

Shortly after graduating with my MBA I created an action plan for eliminating my student loans, and in 7 months was able to pay them all off. It wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it.

The biggest reason for why I was able to pay off my student loans is because I earned as much money as I could outside of my day job. I mystery shopped and got paid to take surveys, but the biggest thing I did was I made an income through my blog.

I worked my butt off on my blog.

Any extra time I had would go towards growing my blog. I woke up early in the mornings, stayed up late at night, used lunch breaks at my day job, and I even used my vacation days to focus on my blog.

It was a huge commitment, but blogging is a lot of fun and the income was definitely worth it.

While I was working on paying off student loans, I earned anywhere from $5,000 to $11,000 monthly from my blog, and that was in addition to the income I was earning from my day job.

This helped me tremendously in being able to pay off my student loans, especially in such a short amount of time.

My blog allowed me to have a lot of fun.

One reason why I was able to work so much between my day job and my side hustling is that I made sure my side hustles were fun. Because I didn’t like my day job, I knew I just didn’t have it in me to work extra on something everyday if I didn’t enjoy it.

That’s where blogging came in.

Blogging is a ton of fun, and I have made many great friends. At times it can be challenging (the good type of challenging!) but also a lot of fun. I love when I receive an email from a reader about how I helped them pay off debt, gave them motivation, taught them about a certain side hustle, and more. Helping others along the way is another part of what really makes it worthwhile.

The fun I had blogging made it feel like a hobby, and that’s why I was able to put a crazy number of hours into it.

I focused on growing and improving my blog.

I knew I had to keep earning a good income online in order to pay off my student loan debt, so I made sure that I spent time growing and improving my blog as well. Since I love blogging so much, this was a fun task for me.

Improving my blog included learning about social media, growing my website, knowing what my readers want, producing high-quality content, keeping up with changes in the blogging world (things change a lot!), and more.

I put nearly every cent from side hustling towards paying off student loans.

One thing I did with the extra income I earned each month was putting as much of it as I could towards paying off student loans, and this way I wasn’t tempted to spend the income on something else.

So, as I earned money from my blog, I put it towards paying off student loans as quickly as I could.

This is probably easier said than done, though.

When you start earning a side income it can be very tempting to buy yourself some things. After all, you are tired, you have been working a lot, and therefore you may justify purchases to yourself.

But before you know it, you may have just a fraction of what you’ve earned left and able to put towards paying off your student loans.

It’s better to think about WHY you are side hustling and put a majority of the income you earn towards that instead.

I stayed positive when paying off student loans.

It was hard to manage everything. I was working around 100 hours each week between my day job and my side jobs, which left little time for sleep or seeing loved ones.

Luckily, I love blogging and that made it much easier to spend so much time on my blog. Watching my student loans get paid off and the debt going down was a huge motivator.

At first I thought it was impossible, and now I know it wasn’t!

Paying off my student loan debt has been one of the best choices I have ever made.

Do you have student loan debt? How are you paying off student loans?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Michael

    $40K of debt gone in 7 months is awesome! I only have one student loan left. The interest is only 3% so I will let it stick around a little longer. I hope to pay it off by the end of the year. Selling things I no longer use and picking up extra shifts has helped me pay down my loans. I also enjoy finding ways to stretch a dollar.

  2. That’s awesome that you paid off your loans so quickly! Really impressive! I graduated with one small student loan that I was able to pay off right away and I am so glad that I’ve never really had the stress of that much debt. My husband is almost done with his degree and we saved up a huge chunk of cash before he went back to school full time so that we could pay cash for all of it. He has one semester left and we should have enough money to pay for it all!

  3. This is amazing! As a newer blogger I would totally agree that although starting a blog has been work, it’s also a lot of fun. You’re constantly challenging yourself, meeting new people and sometimes getting outside your comfort zone. Now I look forward to hopefully earning more and more from the side hustle. Keep Hustling!

  4. Great job killing your student loans! Life is so much easier when you don’t have debt hanging over your head. I was so glad when we got rid of ours!

  5. Hey Michelle! I often brag to others about you about how you’re my inspiration for paying off my student loans. I honestly probably would have never started sharing my journey or pursuing online freelancing if it weren’t for being inspired by you. I’m happy to report that this month will be my highest net month from my online work and ALL of it will be going towards my student loans. Now I’m trying to balance growing my own site while working with clients. Thanks so much for inspiring others. You are truly good at what you do!

  6. Aliyyah @RichAndHappyBlog

    Congrats on paying off your student loans so quickly. I don’t have any student loans and know that it is a great feeling to not have to owe money to someone each month.

  7. Apathy Ends

    I still have about 36k in student loan debt and trying to figure out a way to expedite the payoff. I am down from over 80k (was not very bright with $ in college and I got my masters right after my undergrad)

    I can’t wait for the day I get to keep my 1000 every month!

  8. I love your motivation! I have a friend with 80k in student loans (some $$ used for off-campus housing, food, etc while attending school) – he deeply regrets this now and has been paying back for several years and has still yet to make a dent because the interest is so high. It’s very sad that our generation is faced with so much education debt only to earn a lower or middle-class income. That being said, I encourage my friend consistently to get a part-time job or find a hobby that provides side income – your advice is exactly what he needs to hear and I think everyone with student loan debt needs to follow your example!

    1. Thanks! Great job encouraging your friend πŸ™‚

  9. Heather aka HoJo

    Congrats, girl! I can relate, although on a smaller level. I ended up with about $30,000 in student loans after my second masters degree. On a teacher’s salary in the lowest paying state, I set a goal to have it all paid off in ten years. I did it in seven thanks to my side hustles! I actually just blogged about this very topic a few weeks ago because I think everyone should get those pesky loans paid off ASAP. Congrats again!

  10. Awesome! Yes, sounds like you’ll probably need some side hustles πŸ™‚

  11. Many people to this day underestimate the awesome power of blogging or don’t care to change their current train of thought about making money online full-time. They’re comfortable working in their day jobs earning just a can of beans or not willing to change their current situation whatever it is. The good thing about blogging is that you can turn it into a full-time business like you did Michelle and be a true inspiration to others looking to follow your successful lead. I myself tried to encourage a friend who’s currently in MLM to switch over to affiliate marketing and blogging as this person is hardheaded and refuses to do so consistently complaining about not making enough money on their day job despite the fact they have a Bachelor’s degree. Yet, this person continually encourages me to purchase from their MLM affiliate link which I refuse to do because the prices of their products is too high.

    The more I kept trying to encourage this person to switch over to affiliate marketing and blogging because they’re not making money with their affiliate link posting to Facebook the more this person continues to brush me off so I left them alone about blogging. I’m convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that content plus blogging alone can earn a person a healthy income to three years after launching a business blog working from the comfort of their home.

      1. You’re welcome. πŸ™‚

  12. Lindsey

    Your story is truely amazing and motivates me to work hard on my own blog! I want so badly to be able to quit my day job to stay at home blogging. Your travel stories especially are inspirational, how cool is it to get to see the world while doing a job you love! I may have not had huge amounts of debt, but I know that your blog has helped me become better with my money and to know that I’m not the only one who wants to splurge on clothes and eating out.

  13. I’m looking forward to the day my blog becomes instrumental in clearing my debt.That day is still somewhere in the future but I think I can see a glimpse of it now.

    Blogging is definitely a great way to create a side income though. I just wish I’d discovered it earlier! πŸ™‚

    You’ve achieved amazing things so far. The sky’s the limit!

    1. Yes, it’s funny. I never thought I would be a full-time blogger!

  14. Bruce mesnekoff

    Thanks for Information about Paying Off Student Loans with Blogging. Your Article is impressive and very informative for students. I am now regular visitor of your website and bookmarked it.

  15. I think it’s so sad how student loans are a noose around the neck after people graduate. People can’t even start their lives because of it. Glad you got it done!!! I was EXTREMELY frugal about all things college start to finish and escaped with about 16k very low interest with a reasonable payment, paid it off in 10 years, and got on with my life.

    1. Great job! And, yes, it is very sad.

  16. Can’t wait till I’m writing this post!! πŸ˜‰ Blogging is how I’m helping pay off my law school loans. I absolutely love it!

    1. Yes! You will be soon πŸ™‚

  17. Michael

    My family paid for my undergraduate education. I had full scholarship and when I went to graduate school – however, I was careless and living the high life and accumulated 27K in credit card debt.

    It dawned on me to get my act together when I started working. I paid off my credit card debt within three years.

  18. Cathy @MonetizeMyMins

    It is always so inspiring to read stories like this. While I am not new to the side hustle, I just recently started blogging about how to more easily fit side hustles into an average person’s life while minimizing the pains and sacrifices that often come with earning side income. I hope my blog helps others see all of the ways people can bring in extra money. Congrats on your success.

  19. Edmond

    OMG! Good Golly Miss Molly. Ur article on student loans is most useful & educational. Divine. It really helps. Pick me, pick me! Your next winner!!! Show me the money!!! It would be a dream come true and means more to me than anyone else to win. Starving artist here desperately needs the $250 to shop and eat. Winner, winnner. Chicken dinner. A life changing experience. Top of my bucket list. Thank you for the awesomeness, the contest, and generosity. Dear Santa: I’ve been nice. My X-Mas wish this year is to win this contest. 

  20. Your blog is such an inspiration! I only have about 5k in student loan debt, but I pay almost 3x the minimum payment and I hope that my blog will allow me to pay it off even faster.

  21. Wow, you paid those off in such a short amount of time!! Very impressive. We paid off our student loads a few years ago, took us a bit longer than we wanted but so worth it.

  22. Great Job Michelle. You are an inspiration.

    Obviously paying such high amount in 7 months is not an easy task. With blogging, you also need to be consistent, hard working and need to have a lot of faith in yourself.

    In anyway, great work.

  23. Monica

    How do you make money off of blogging? I see the benefits but not sure how and where to start. Can you help me? Thanks

  24. Morgan

    Wow! This is an excellent idea for financing student loans. Granted, it seems like you put a ton of work into it, but it certainly looks like it has paid off! Great post, and congratulations to you! Thanks for sharing!

  25. Betsy Barnes

    I don’t have student loans, but this is a great strategy! πŸ™‚

  26. Patty

    I just have to let you know your such an inspiration to me! I just started a blog about my fiancΓ©e and I’s journey to debt free. We have a long way to go with over $100k of student loans. But I can’t loose sight of the debt free dream. I am hunting everyday for more ways the two us can save even just a few bucks or another new idea to earn some more money. Great work thanks for be so open and sharing your life.

  27. Brianna Nash

    In this post you mentioned you mystery shopped for extra cash. How did you do that and who did you go through?

    1. You can find more information on mystery shopping here – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2012/04/mystery-shopping.html. It’s an old article, but BestMark is great!

  28. Katlyn

    This is so motivating! My blog is dedicated to college financial matters so I love reading stuff like this. I am on track to graduate from undergrad debt free, but I will definitely have debt from graduate school so I love reading posts like this!

  29. LeJeanne

    Yes, I have student loan debt which is the main reason I started my blog. Your story is very encouraging. I look forward to reading more of your tips and taking your course. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Rob

    Whats your biggest income generator on your blog?

    1. Affiliate income. I recommend checking out my monthly income reports as I list out the exact ways I make money blogging every single month – https://www.makingsenseofcents.com/category/business-income

  31. hendrick

    I found that WEEKLY automatic payments to my credit card works for me (it’s also great for my credit score). Instead of coming up with a big chunk of money once a month, I pay a little each week. I get paid every Friday, and pay my card every Monday (never using it for anything). If there are 5 Mondays in the month, then I pay a little more that month than if I made 1 monthly payment. It equals to one extra “monthly” payment in that year.
    Example:
    $100/wk. X 52 weeks = $5200
    $400/mo. X 12 months = $4800 ($400 difference)
    I also put some into savings each week (direct deposit at work). Even if you start small ($10/wk.), you would have $520 in a year. In my book, that’s a big help for Christmas presents, and you might not even feel it.
    Another “savings” that my husband and I do is keeping a jar that we add to each week. Every week for 1 year, you add $1 more than the week before.
    Example:
    Week 1 $1
    Week 2 $2…
    Week 52 $52

  32. Alicia Eichmann

    Thanks for this post. I have a ton of student loans, I’m hoping my blog will be an avenue to pay them off and switch to working from home. I really enjoyed your Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. Now I just have to schedule into my weekly routine to regularly spend time working on the strategies you explained. I can’t wait to have a success story like yours!

  33. Many college students will read this post Michelle and get instantly inspired to follow your side hustle blogging lead. I hope to hear more good news about your financial blog in the near future. Keep doing what you do. πŸ™‚

  34. DNN

    Blogging is a great way to build a remote work based side hustle before and after getting wrongfully terminated from a job. No employer wanst to find out later on that the one they setup for getting fired is an online millionaire from affiliate marketing and blogging.